Fajardo atones for woeful field-goal shooting with rare perfect clip from free-throw line
SMB big man June Mar Fajardo struggled from the field against Jay Washington and Co.'s physical defense but made up for it with a perfect clip from the free-throw line. June Mar Fajardo

SHACKLED by a swarming defense, June Mar Fajardo knew he had to find other ways to score.

The reigning PBA MVP showed another weapon in his growing arsenal on Sunday, going flawless from the foul line in San Miguel Beer’s 87-81 Game Two win over Talk ‘N Text in their Philippine Cup semifinal series.

Fajardo, who shot just 64.3 percent (45-of-70) from the charity stripe during the elimination round, surprisingly made all his 11 charities this time that compensated for his 2-of-11 shooting from the field.

Asked to explain his astonishing accuracy from the 15-foot line, the 6-foot-10 big man said he simply didn't want to let his teammates down.

“Wala, na-shoot lang talaga,” he said, drawing chuckles from his interviewers, before turning serious. “Inisip ko lang na pag nag-mintis yun, baka dahilan yung para matalo kami kasi close game eh.”

Fajardo, though, admitted there has been a conscious effort in improving his free throws, knowing he will always get fouled.

“Meron din (extra effort). Nakaka-pressure rin kanina, pero buti na lang pumasok.”

For a change, it was his field-goal shooting (he shot 57.2% in the elims) that needed work.

“Nakaka-frustrate din kasi ang dami kong mintis sa field eh. Maganda depensa nila sa akin.”

“Pero kailangan ko mag-focus sa game,” he added. “Yung physicality nandun naman yun eh. Hindi naman mawawala yun.

Still, he finished with a double-double of 15 points, 12 caroms, three assists, and two blocks in 36 minutes in the face of the Texters’ highly physical defense.

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